Butcher bear-hug delays bag thief

Butcher John Boyling of Best Meats. Picture: Dan Linehan

An English Market butcher staked his claim to being local peacekeeper when he caught a man in a bear-hug as he tried to snatch a handbag hanging from a baby’s buggy.

Butcher John Boyling of Best Meats nabbed Philip Murphy, aged 49, after first noticing that the accused was walking up and down and watching the property before eventually trying to steal it.

Murphy, of 53 Orchard Court, denied the theft and said he was only in the English Market that day looking for a piece of meat to buy for his mother.

Judge Con O’Leary did not believe him. The judge convicted Murphy and sentenced him to nine months in prison. 

Murphy had numerous previous convictions for theft.

Mr Boyling, testified at Cork District Court yesterday: “What I saw was the defendant acting very suspiciously towards the property of another stall holder. 

"The defendant seemed to be monitoring my fellow worker and her belongings. Every time he passed he checked where her property was.

“His actions made me aware he was going to do something.

He stood across from the baby’s buggy where there was a bag. He did not notice I was watching him.

"He was wearing a brown Paddy cap. He approached with an Aran sweater draped over his arm.

“He dropped the Aran sweater over the bag and made a movement to take everything that was then concealed under the Aran sweater.”

The butcher then told Inspector Jason Lynch: “I reached over and wrapped him in a bear-hug and told him he was caught and the guards were being called.”

He said the culprit initially resisted but did settle down. 

Mr Boyling added in relation to their respective sizes: “I outmatch that gentleman by a degree.”

Joseph Cuddigan, solicitor, said that on Mr Boyling’s account of the disputed theft one would have expected the buggy to topple over. 

Mr Boyling said it did not fall over.

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